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A secret call from the European Union freezes the agreement with Mercosur

A secret call from the European Union freezes the agreement with Mercosur
February 21, 2024 – 00:00

A telephone communication from a key official closes the possibilities of advancing until the end of the year. Protectionism is back and the chancellor took a small taste of reality from Italy.

The European Union informed Mercosur that it is withdrawing from negotiations for the free trade agreement, at least until the last quarter of the year. Ámbito was able to corroborate a call made at the highest diplomatic level by three negotiation sources that confirmed the temporary cessation of the discussion. It’s about a telephone contact between the Commissioner for Trade and Vice President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, and the Chancellor of Brazil, Mauro Vieira. New setback for Diana Mondino’s strategy that received a dose of pragmatism in Italy.

Despite the attempts to accelerate the “symbolic” signing of the European Union – Mercosur agreement, in the last few hours it has been ruled out that any type of progress can be shown. Negotiation sources confirmed to Ámbito that “The EU has withdrawn from the dialogue at least until September because it is entering a complex electoral process to form the new Commission”.

Until now, The Commission had a mandate to accelerate the negotiations, but in the context of growing protests in the agricultural sector, which had France as the epicenter, they prefer to keep this discussion on the sidelines. until the change of authorities is made. This was made known to Lula Da Silva by the current Trade Commissioner and Vice President of the European Commission, Valdis Dombrovskis, through a telephone call he made days ago to the Brazilian Foreign Minister Mauro Vieira.

As this media was able to reconstruct, A similar position was expressed by the French Foreign Minister Stéphane Séjourné to the Minister of Foreign Affairs, Diana Mondino. The European diplomat even stressed that “the agreement in the state in which it is found is not going to happen because it is not satisfactory” and said: “We are going to continue working, we can face another type of agreement in economic, cultural and other aspects in particular”.

The elections for the European Parliament will be held next June, but the beginning of the sessions would only be in September. Therefore, the new body of commissioners could only be defined in November and in that case, from there, resume the negotiations that France at this time considers buried.

A dose of pragmatism for Mondino

Regardless of political or ideological affinities, The world is reconfigured in a different way than President Javier Milei and his Foreign Minister Diana Mondino would expect. Reshoring, nearshoring and friendshoring processes are becoming more frequent and free trade agreements are becoming more limited. Protectionism is back.

The last trip to Italy may serve as a reality check. A businessman who participated in the tour said that Mondino was very enthusiastic about the affinity between Milei and Prime Minister Georgia Meloni, whom she described as two “liberal leaders.”

With that same imprint, The Argentine official proposed to the Minister of Agriculture of Italy, Francesco Lollobrigida, to raise all types of barriers to open the market to Argentine agricultural products.. The Italian’s response was forceful: “Everything is very good, but first I have to protect my small producers who are the ones that generate employment.”they heard him say.

Thus he made it clear that the entry of Argentine products is not a priority for Italy, which has fewer competitive margins in that sector. The experienced business leader who spoke with Ámbito described him as “a necessary dose of pragmatism” for the minister. Anyway. She considered the tour “very positive” and had words of praise for the chancellor who “spoke in three languages” and “sold the opportunities that Argentina presents very well.”

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Source: Ambito

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